TfL’s Central and Victoria line Night Tube services to resume following pandemic closure
From 27 November 2021, Transport for London’s Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines will resume service on Fridays and Saturdays.
Credit: Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Night Tube will be returning in time for the busy Christmas period after being suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic.
Services on the Central and Victoria lines will run throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays from 27 November 2021, providing more options for customers who need to travel at night either for leisure or for work, whilst also making journey times shorter and offering safer routes home for Londoners.
TfL continues to run as many services as possible whilst seeking to secure the long-term, sustainable government funding that is needed to go on supporting London’s recovery.
The Central and Victoria lines were previously two of the busiest lines on the Night Tube network and provide crucial links between large parts of London and the centre of the city. Restoring night service on these lines will help to support businesses like bars, clubs and restaurants as London’s night-time economy continues to recover following the pandemic. It will also provide a safe, quick travel option for Londoners and visitors looking to make the most of all that the capital has to offer in the evenings, and those who need to travel to or from work at night.
The Night Tube offers a safe, low crime environment. More than 2,500 police and police community support officers and 500 TfL enforcement officers patrol London’s transport network, while thousands of frontline transport staff support customers and an extensive CCTV network is in place across the Tube.
TfL operates one of the most extensive night bus networks in the world and it continues to ensure that everyone can travel around the capital whatever the hour. Well over 100 routes currently run through the night, while licensed and regulated taxis and private hire vehicles provide door-to-door transport at all times of the day. The Tube continues to operate between approximately 05:30 and 00:30 through central London from Monday to Saturday, and TfL has started running some trains earlier on Sunday mornings to help customers to travel at those times.
As London has begun to emerge from the pandemic, off-peak leisure travel has been recovering more quickly than other types of journeys, indicating that there is strong demand for services that run later into the night at the weekend. There is now regularly more than 55 per cent of journeys compared to before the pandemic on the Tube network on weekdays, but that has reached as high as 80 per cent at weekends, while ridership on buses is regularly at 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and on TfL rail services – like London Overground – it is around 60 per cent, with weekends reaching even higher.
Overall, TfL figures indicate that use of London’s public transport network is at around 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and that millions of Londoners are returning to the transport network, showing that they have confidence that it is safe, clean and reliable.
The Night Tube was suspended during the pandemic because drivers have been needed to ensure that the Tube service during the day, where demand has been higher, is as frequent as possible. Like other businesses across the city, London Underground was also impacted by staff absences due to the major disruption caused by the pandemic at a time when Tube ridership dropped by over 90 per cent.
The pandemic also affected TfL’s ability to train new drivers to replace those who have left. However, Night Tube drivers were recently offered the opportunity to convert from their part-time roles to permanent full-time roles, boosting London Underground’s ability to provide a good overnight service whilst also benefitting drivers and meaning that overnight services can now resume on the busiest two lines.
Training still needs to take place on the other Night Tube lines – the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines – so that Night Tube services on those lines can return as soon as possible. The return of these lines also has to be planned around complex vital operational and engineering closures.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The reason why I was so keen to be the first Mayor in London’s history to start the Night Tube in 2016 and to restart it now, after the COVID-19 pause, is because I know how important this is to London’s thriving night-time economy, to London’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of everyone travelling home at night, particularly women and girls. I am determined to make our city as safe as possible for all Londoners. That’s why I’m delighted to see the return of the Victoria and Central Night Tube lines [in November 2021], which will make a huge difference to people travelling around our city at night and making their way home, offering them an additional safe, reliable transport option. I will continue to work with TfL and the UK government to do everything that we can to bring back the full Night Tube network as soon as possible.”
Nick Dent, London Underground’s Director of Customer Operations, said: “The return of the Night Tube will be a huge boost to the night-time economy and will help our customers to travel around London at weekends. The Tube has played a vital role during the pandemic and will continue to be vital to London’s recovery. We continue to run a regular, orderly and clean service and will continue to work hard to return the full Night Tube network as soon as possible.”
Nick Bowes, Chief Executive at Centre for London, said: “The reopening of two Night Tube lines – Central and Victoria – from 27 November 2021 is fantastic news for the capital. Not only will this give many Londoners the confidence that they need to feel safe travelling at night, whether for work or leisure, but it will also boost London’s night time economy and encourage people to enjoy what’s on offer in our city after dark as Christmas approaches. Reopening further lines on the Night Tube partly relies on it being financially viable for Transport for London to do so. That’s why it’s vital that the government and the Mayor can agree on a long term, sustainable financial deal for our world-class transport authority as soon as possible.”